May 18, 2020
By Alie Sonta Kamara
In an effort to help in the united fight against Covid-19 and to proactively protect vulnerable groups, the Dorothy Springer Trust (DST) is distributing over one thousand facemasks including 450 bars of soap, 60 Veronica buckets and 80 hand sanitizers among people living with disabilities.
DST joined forces with the Freetown Cheshire Home to produce these facemasks and get the other essential items ready.
In the last seven days, DST doled out this support to thirty disabled people organisations consisting of over 1400 persons with disabilities in both the Western Urban and Western Rural District.
This timely aid is accompanied by customized Covid-19 messages suitable for people living with all forms of disabilities. The sensitization tips are being composed into a song and a video that are consistent with government’s health guidelines, especially those advanced by the Emergency Operation Centre (CEO).
While speaking during an official press briefing on Saturday, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Abdulai Dumbuya, said DST has produced communication materials that provide clear messages about the safety precaution people with disabilities need to take. “Our signature song and video which included the messages developed previously were launched on 20th April following an event with the Government of Sierra Leone Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Since then, the song has been played nationally and will continue to feature on major TV and Radio Stations at prime time.
The final strand of COVID-19 project is to ensure that any persons with disability who is affected by COVID-19 receive the support they require. DST is using its connection with a wide network of disabled persons’ organisations to monitor cases as they occur. We are glad to report zero positive COVID-19 cases but DST will actively advocate on behalf of people with disabilities who have been or released from quarantined,” he explained.
Since registering with the UK Charity Commission in 2007, CEO Dumbuya said they have developed a model that works. “We operate in Sierra Leone as a registered Charitable Organisation. We have trained 80 students, of which around 60 are in some form of employment, have established their own businesses or have accessed higher education. This success rate of 75% is impressive, in a country where only 30% of people with disabilities have an income. Our graduates are confident that they can get a job and rely on their own ability, rather than on the donations of others. They also act as role models for other disabled people,” he added.
The effort to sensitize people living with disabilities is line with the campaign to Leave No One Behind.